Steve Curtin

Chat gone wrong

Imagine paying $216 per year for the privilege of receiving your monthly invoice at the correct address. In order to change the billing address on his account, CenturyLink chat reps led one customer on a 68-minute odyssey that would involve four reps, ...

Interpreting the Voice of the Customer

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is how companies hear, listen to, and respond to customer feedback about their brand, products, and services. This data comes from a variety of sources, including: Surveys (internal and external/third-party) Online reviews ...

Three simple ways to improve CX

There is a lot of talk about voice of the customer (VoC) in customer experience (CX) circles. Most of it has to do with sifting through lots of data to determine what customers say about their needs and their perception of how well companies meet…

Customer service in the wake of COVID-19

Last Friday, I had my teeth cleaned after my dentist’s office reopened as COVID-19 restrictions relaxed in my area. As expected, new protocols were in place, including: social distancing in the office requiring patients to call from the parking lot to ...

In times of crisis, reaffirm your purpose

I suddenly have a lot more time on my hands. It’s made me think about how, as a customer service consultant, I can offer value to clients at a time of unprecedented crisis where the primary focus, understandably, is survival. Then it occurred to me…

When values are clear, decisions are easy

Nearly every sophisticated organization has gone to great lengths to craft a mission, vision, or purpose statement together with a set of guiding principles or values to direct its course, during good times and bad. Even so, in both my formal and infor...

In times of crisis, let values be your guide

By now, most of us have been impacted in some way by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). I worked in Boston last week where I met a fellow hotel guest in the elevator. Upon detecting an accent, I asked where he was from. He said, “I…

Three Truths of Exceptional Customer Service

Most people don’t choose to deliver poor customer service; they just don’t choose to deliver exceptional customer service. Most are content to simply occupy a customer service role and execute their job functions, blissfully unaware of the opportunitie...

Communicate On Purpose

Employees will only be aware of job purpose (as a relevant and credible dimension of their job role) if leadership and, in particular, their immediate supervisor, reinforces it daily by talking about it and, more importantly, modeling it. Most employee...

If you can afford to dine out, then you can afford to be generous

Last week, a restaurant guest in Colts Neck, New Jersey left his waitress a 74-cent tip on a $119.26 check. Somehow, a New Jersey state senator obtained a photo of the signed receipt and shared the unedited image on Twitter. The intent of this blog…

Being Capable Is Not Enough

Last fall I traveled to Philadelphia to meet up with several colleagues at a downtown hotel. At check-in, I received a room key emblazoned with the image of a specialty cocktail. After pocketing the key, I grabbed my bag, and headed toward the elevator...

Inspiring initiative

Two weeks ago we received a late spring snowstorm that left several inches of snow on our back deck. Because my teenage son was hosting a prom after-party that evening, I approached him at 2:30pm and asked, “Why are you gaming? You have pictures at…

The unseating of Sears

After buying our first home in 2000, my wife and I spent many weekends shopping at The Great Indoors, a home décor chain founded by Sears in 1997. One of our early purchases was a Kenmore canister vacuum cleaner. For more than a decade until…

The true cost of outsourcing

Last week, in preparation for spring break in the mountains, I called my local Ford dealership to ask a couple of questions about my service plan’s coverage of replacement brake pads and to schedule an oil change and tire rotation. Today’s business cli...

You don’t have to be a B Corp to have a purpose

In recent years, I’ve read a number of articles that attribute the rise in B Corps to organizations’ desire to be seen as interested in both shareholder and stakeholder success. A Benefit Corporation or B Corp is a type of for-profit corporate entity a...

The Commitment Quadrant

Over three decades of working in training and development has taught me, among other things, that many managers are skeptical about the return on investment from most training programs. So-called “soft skills” training on topics like customer service a...

Comcast is making customer experience its best product

While many organizations give their employees assignments to work on, Comcast has given its employees a purpose to work toward.

Why I Fired Allstate

On June 19th of this year there was a significant hailstorm in my neighborhood that damaged dozens of roofs and automobiles. My Allstate agent texted me on the same day – impressive – and asked me whether or not we had been affected by the st...

Volunteers at Work

For many years, I’ve gone on record saying that the reason you and I, as customers, consistently receive predictably poor customer service is because exceptional customer service is voluntary; employees don’t have to deliver it, and most don’t. It’s tr...

When Values Are Valuable

Earlier today I was the guest on a leadership podcast. Among other topics, we discussed organizational values. Too often the term “values” conjures up images of the corporate orientation video or inspirational break room posters and is otherwise widely...

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